Finch the man to open with me: Harris

Debutant opener Marcus Harris is backing Aaron Finch (pic) to bounce back from his third-ball duck.
Debutant opener Marcus Harris is backing Aaron Finch (pic) to bounce back from his third-ball duck.

Debutant Marcus Harris insists Aaron Finch is the batsman to partner him at the top of Australia's order as debate continues to swirl after the latter's inglorious third-ball duck.

Finch's dramatic dismissal, in which two stumps were uprooted by a delivery from Ishant Sharma that warranted more respect than a loose cover drive, would have done little to calm Harris' nerves during the first over of Australia's first innings of the opening Test against India.

Harris nonetheless settled, scoring 26 and looking somewhat comfortable until he was undone by a change of pace from offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

But discussion about whether Finch should be entrusted to open, a topic spoken about at length in recent weeks, continued to reverberate around Adelaide Oval.

Harris and Finch have opened in the Big Bash League together but never in Sheffield Shield, with Victorian coach Andrew McDonald feeling the latter is best suited to the middle order in red-ball cricket.

Harris hopes Finch is given an extended run to prove he's a capable Test opener.

"I think it's good for the team if there's continuity at the top, yeah," Harris said.

"I thought Finchy batted really well in the UAE.

"He's earned his spot to bat at the top of the order. He'll be fine.

"He's a class player; opened a lot in one-day cricket; opened in international cricket, so he'll be fine."

Shifting Finch down the order would mean promoting under-pressure Shaun Marsh or the side's most-important batsman Usman Khawaja.

Former Test openers Simon Katich and Ed Cowan are among those who agree with McDonald.

"There's a reason he's been batting down the order for Victoria ... they know their players better than anyone. Andrew McDonald is a good judge," Katich said on SEN radio.

Katich noted Finch's preparation for the four-Test series had been "compromised" by playing so much white-ball cricket recently for Australia.

"Because of the nature of the schedule, which he has no control over, he comes in potentially underdone," he said.

Harris also backed Marsh to bounce back from Friday's terrible dismissal.

"I assume he's upset with the way he went but it's only one innings of the first Test ... Shaun's a class player so he'll be all good," Harris said.

Australian Associated Press